Thursday, April 29, 2010

Studio, Transformed



The bed looks more inviting.  Someone could actually sleep in it!

Piles of "stuff" gone and one leaf of the table down, to make more floorspace.  I must confess, some supplies are hidden under the table.

Tubs of fabric.  One of my goals is to whittle my stash down so I don't need to keep these plastic containers in the room.  But for now, the closet shelves are full of fabric and I have the five bins you see here, plus three more in the attic.

This shelving unit is on the wall opposite the bed.  It holds quite a lot, including most of my quilting books and magazines.  The cabinet at the bottom holds fabric.  I'd like to put the magazines there, but need to use the fabric first.  The little white dress is a vintage embroidered baby dress hung on a small hanger; just for decoration.  I need to start a shelf-o-joy.  And I need to make a wall hanging for the wall behind the bed.

Sometimes I refer to this room as the orphan furniture room.  All the furniture had a different purpose originally.  The shelving units, curtains and shams came from my bachelorette condo, the sewing table was my dining room table in my first apartment, and the chair was my husband's childhood desk chair.  Sometime, I'd like to get a "real" sewing table, the kind where the sewing machine sinks into it so the sewing surface is flush with the table.  But that will have to wait until I have a dedicated studio, that does not have to double as a guest room.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Lunch

Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen, in their YOU on a Diet plan, recommend sticking to just a few different menus.  The thought is that by limiting the need to make decisions or food choices, you reduce the number of occasions on which you can make a bad choice.   In an effort to get the weightloss back on track, I will be following this advice and limiting myself to just a few alternative lunch menus:

1.  Soup - the cafeteria at one of my clients' office building serves very good soup and it is the first station.  If I eat soup the day or two each week that I am there, I will get a healthy, low-calorie (I avoid the cream-based soups) meal and avoid the temptations offered at the other stations.  If I don't like the soup choices, I can have a container of yogurt with a piece of fruit. 

2.  Tuna on one slice of whole wheat bread or toast - my staple lunch at home.  I make my tuna with low-fat mayo, chopped celery, and a few chopped green olives for flavor kick.  I also add pepper.  I like it mounded on the bread slice and toasted in the toaster oven.  Occasionally, I add a bit of shredded cheddar cheese to the top before toasting.

3.  Taco Bell Fresco Ranchero chicken soft tacos - This is my alternative when out and about on the run.  The Fresco Ranchero chicken soft taco is from the "Drive Thru Diet Menu" and is pretty tasty.  Two of them with a Diet Pepsi comes in under 400 calories. 
I eat any of the above with a piece of fruit (apple, pear, clementine, small banana); at home, I can have my unsweetened, frozen berries.  For a beverage, I drink hot tea, iced tea (both unsweetened, but that's how I like my tea anyway), or one of the 10 calorie versions of Fuze.  I drink a lot of water during the day, between meals.  Yes, it's a bit Spartan but hopefully, it will work.

The stats:
weight lost this week: +0.4 pounds
weight lost YTD:  3.6 pounds

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Pillowcases

I don't even have the quilt finished yet but I made a pair of pillowcases to match my Blooms In The Snow quilt.  I used a tutorial that made the pillowcases easy and fast, with no hand sewing involved! I understand that there are some videos on YouTube of this technique.  Worth checking out if you don't quite "get it' from the photos in the tutorial.  This was so fast and easy, I will be making more.

But not right now.  The pillowcases were my last project prior to morphing the sewing room into a guest room.  I've been steadily cleaning up and picking up, all in preparation for my mom's arrival this Wednesday.  Just a bit more to do. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Junior League of Greater Princeton Designer Showhouse

Last night, Mr. Main Street and I went to the preview party for the Junior League of Greater Princeton's Designer Showhouse - Woodacres.  The house is fabulous; it is open to the public through May 23 (open Wed-Sun, closed Monday and Tuesday).  More information at the website.

The house is located on The Great Road, just north of the Princeton border.  It is a Georgian-style house built in 1937 by one of the founders of the Benton & Bowles advertising agency on a large piece of property that is now adjacent to the Cherry Valley Country Club development.  The house and gardens have been transformed by a group of 30 or so interior and landscape designers and beautifully showcases their talents. 

This photo shows a corner of the living room, designed by Trove Decor of Newtown, PA.  The room contains several "upcycled" pieces of furniture; I was particularly taken with this table made by topping a garden urn with a piece of marble.

One of my favorite spaces is this bedroom, designed by Black-Eyed Susan.  You can see more pictures of it on Susan Taylor's blog.

There are some fun spaces outside, including the transformation of a derelict shed into this garden by Katy's Glamorous Gardens and a patio with daybed designed by Ronni Hock.  Doesn't that look like a perfect spot for lounging with a book? 

The Showhouse is the primary fundraiser for the Junior League of Greater Princeton, with money raised going to benefit ROCKETS (Raising Our Children's Knowledge by Educating Through Science), a literacy program that works with children attending Trenton Head Start and YWCA Princeton.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What Do You Do With Schnibbles?

Do you make Schnibbles?  What do you do with them?

Photo "borrowed" from where you can find the patterns to purchase here.

For the unaware, Schnibbles are patterns for small quilts made out of charm packs of 5" squares.  The finished quilts are usually about 32" square.  Schnibbles are the invention of the talented Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. and can be viewed here.

There is even a Year of Schnibbles quilt-along, hosted by two bloggers.  I thought of joining up but then wondered what I would do with 12 small quilts.

I really like the patterns and I have several hoarded charm packs from collections past that are waiting for a purpose to claim them.  I tell myself I could make a bigger quilt based on the patterns.  I could make more blocks (Schnibble Squuared?) or make the blocks bigger (Schnibble on Steroids?).  But part of the attraction of Schnibbles for me is the idea that I could finish the project in a weekend or a week of evenings, an attractive prospect for when I need a change of pace from a long-term project (you know it happens!).

So, what do you do with your Schnibbles?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - A Birthday Celebration

This past Friday was Miss Main Street's 15th birthday.  She didn't want a big celebration.  After opening presents, she went with her friends to dinner at TGI Friday's, followed by a movie.  I went out to dinner with the women from my sorority alumnae group and Mr. Main Street stayed home to grade papers!

One thing the birthday has done, though, is forced me to focus more on the weight loss effort.  I  can really no longer blame the need to "lose a few" on having birthed a child when the child is now 15 years old!

The stats:
weight lost this week: 1.0 pound
weight lost YTD: 4.0 pounds

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Studio Clean-up Giveaway #2

Much more work to be done to get the studio cleaned up but in the meantime, here's another giveaway. 

The photo came out very blurry and doesn't look like much but this is a pattern by Atkinson Designs called Daisy Chain.  It is similar to Irish Chain.  Be the first to leave a comment saying you want it and you will receive the pattern, the green fabric for the outer border, pink fabric for the inner border and parts of the chain, and a selection of floral fabrics for the chain.  You will need to augment this with a few more floral fabrics and the white background fabric. It is nearly a kit!

This is something I have been meaning to make for several years.  I got the idea back when my daughter's bedroom was painted pink but by the time I had pulled the fabrics together, she passed out of the pink stage and making this particular quilt did not seem very urgent.  In fact, it kept being pushed to the bottom of the list while I worked on other things.  Does that ever happen in your quilting world?  I've given up on the idea of making it and would like for the materials to find a new, and more appreciative, home.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Studio Clean-up Giveaway #1

As I clean up my studio, so it can revert to its other purpose as guest room in time for my mother's arrival, I have come across some things that I have to admit I will never use.  So, giveaway time!

Do you remember my Aquarium quilt?

It took a lot of searching, and several orders placed online, to locate all the "fish" fabrics for it.  And I ordered several that I never used.  I don't anticipate using them, at least in the near future, so they have become part of my de-stashing program.

The result is that these three pieces of fabric need a new home.  Be the first to leave a comment saying you want them and you get them!  Just be sure that your aren't "no reply" so I can email you for your address.  (Don't leave your address in the comment; I'm not sure that is a safe practice.)

There is about a yard of each of the three pieces.  The fabric at the top has what I think are whales on a blue watery background, the center piece is tropical fish, and the bottom piece has dolphins with small fish, seaweed, and coral on a blue, watery background.  (I used this fabric in the turquoise colorway in my wallhanging.)

And check back tomorrow or the next day for another de-stashing giveaway!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Less of Me

Although the stats don't show it because of switching scales, I think I have really lost about 10 or 11 pounds so far, which is not exactly on track to lose 20 pounds by July 4 but I am pleased anyway because I have confirmation that there really is less of me. 

First, I had to retire my favorite pair of jeans.  They had gone beyond roomy to just plain too big.  In fact, not only did they slip down on my hips but I could take them off without undoing the zipper.  Fortunately, I had already purchased a new pair in a smaller size.

Secondly, we had a warm spell here, like spring had really arrived, and I got excited and placed an order on the Talbots website.  All pieces in my usual size, which had been getting a bit tight, in fact, often didn't fit at all when I went shopping in January.  Not so now, in fact, everything I ordered has to go back - all too big!  Yippee!  Despite the wasted postage, I say, "Yes!"

The stats:
weight lost this week: 0.6 pound
weight lost YTD: 3.0 pounds

Monday, April 12, 2010

Studio Clean-up Time

In two weeks, my mother is coming to visit.  That means my studio has to be transformed back into a guest room.  It currently looks like this:

Can you tell there is even a bed under all that?  I started today by re-folding the stash fabric stored on shelves in the closet.  In the hopes that re-folding and better organizing would enable me to stash more in the closet.  It worked, up to a point.  The piles of fabric formerly on the bed and stool have been put away.  I even emptied one of the plastic project boxes.  But there is lots more to be done.

The upside is that I found some things I didn't remember having.  Like a lot of Halloween fabric.  My imagination is busy with plans!  I think a Halloween spiderweb quilt is going on my to-do list!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

Have you read this book?  I came kind of late to the party; it has been on the best seller list for months.  But if you haven't read it yet, I highly, highly recommend it!  It is the best book I've read in quite some time.  And I read a lot!  An uplifting, touching story about the collective power of women, it takes place in Mississippi in the early 60's.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Old Gold and Blue - Finished!

Quilted, bound, and labeled...and about to be delivered for the auction.  Old Gold and Blue (named after the school song) is going to be auctioned on May 1 at a fundraiser for my daughter's school.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I've Got Mail!

My 30-day waiting period was up last week.  I still wanted Rural Jardin.  My LQS did not stock it so I hit a few keys and, hey presto, here it is!

Yes, both a fat quarter bundle and a layer cake.  I have plans!  I just need to flesh them out a bit more so I can order the additional yardage for sashing/borders/binding.

I also ordered this smaller fat quarter bundle, called Hints of Prints.  They are 30's repros with more white background than most.  I have something in mind for them...

And this pattern caught my eye.  It is a good possibility for the planned turquoise quilt. 

I ordered all of this from The Fat Quarter Shop.  They have a big selection of the latest quilting fabrics and excellent customer service.  I highly recommend them.  Their merchandise does seem to turn over very fast; a few times I've put off ordering while I mull something over, only to find they've sold out when I try to make the purchase.  So, though the 30-day rule worked for me this time, there is some risk involved.

I better get to work.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In - Persevering

Some of you have emailed me with encouraging words about my weight loss efforts.  Thank you so much, it helps a lot!  And I lost a bit more this week, despite the temptation of chocolate eggs!

The stats:

weight lost this week: 0.8 pound
weight lost YTD: 2.4 pounds

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Kaffe Fassett at Pennington Quilt Works

Kaffe Fassett  will be at Pennington Quilt Works on Sunday, April 11, noon to 1:30 pm, signing copies of his new book. Liza Prior Lucy, his co-author, will be there too. 

If you live in New Jersey or Bucks County, PA, this event could be worth the drive.  Information on the location, directions, store hours can be found by clicking on the store link above.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chain Piecing

For about a week, I had been putting off the decision as to which project to pick up next.  I have several UFOs and a number of PIGs (projects in grocery sacks,  except in my case they are in plastic boxes).  I could not make up my mind which one I most wanted to work on next.  I finally decided to get back to this project I blogged about last November, when I gathered all the fabrics from my stash and got them ready for cutting.  And then moved on to something else.

It is a variation on the kaleidoscope block and I am using the Kaleido-RulerTM fromMarti Michell to make the cutting easy and accurate.  I put some NexCare tape on the back of the ruler to prevent it from slipping on the fabric - a technique I learned from Carrie Nelson of Schnibbles patterns fame.  I highly recommend this.  Here is a picture of the tape:

You can buy it in any drugstore, in the first aid section by the Band-Aids, or order from  A few pieces stuck on the back of your ruler prevents it from slipping while you cut, making for greater accuracy.  I figure these blocks, with eight points coming together in the middle, need accuracy!

I cut enough fabric for a few blocks, to get the feel of it, and am at the chain piecing stage now.  This might take a while.